Abdul Basit Alvi
Since their inception, the development and possession of atomic bombs have been the subjects of intense debate and scrutiny. Despite the fears of devastation and catastrophic consequences they evoke as weapons of mass destruction, nations have pursued them for various reasons, citing strategic, political, and security considerations. A closer examination of the rationale behind possessing atomic bombs unveils a complex interplay of factors and perceived benefits. One primary motivation for possessing atomic bombs is deterrence. These weapons are perceived as potent deterrents against potential adversaries, dissuading them from launching attacks or engaging in aggressive actions. The doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) suggests that when multiple states possess nuclear arsenals, it creates a deterrence environment wherein the possibility of massive retaliation deters any party from initiating a nuclear conflict. This deterrent effect is believed to contribute to stability and prevent major wars between nuclear-armed states. Particularly for nations with perceived security threats or facing hostile neighbors, possessing atomic bombs is viewed as essential for national security. These weapons serve as a means of safeguarding sovereignty, deterring aggression, and ensuring territorial integrity. The possession of nuclear capabilities can enhance a country’s defense posture, providing a strategic advantage and bolstering its ability to protect vital interests in the face of external threats. Atomic bombs also confer strategic influence and geopolitical status upon the countries that possess them. Being recognized as a nuclear-armed state elevates a nation’s stature in the international arena, signaling its capacity to wield significant military power and influence global affairs. Nuclear weapons provide leverage in diplomatic negotiations, alliances, and conflict resolution efforts, as demonstrated by the superpowers during the Cold War and subsequent nuclear-armed states. Moreover, the development and maintenance of atomic bombs necessitate advanced scientific and technological capabilities. Nations with nuclear weapons programs often invest heavily in research, development, and innovation, driving technological advancements in various fields, including physics, engineering, and materials science. The expertise gained from nuclear programs can have spin-off benefits for civilian applications, such as energy generation, medical diagnostics, and space exploration. In addition to their tangible military capabilities, atomic bombs possess a psychological dimension that contributes to deterrence. The awareness of a country’s possession of nuclear weapons instills fear and uncertainty in potential adversaries, influencing their decision-making calculus and behavior. This psychological deterrence factor can act as a potent deterrent even in the absence of explicit threats or military confrontation, shaping strategic calculations and crisis dynamics. Despite the inherent risks and moral dilemmas associated with nuclear weapons, proponents argue that their possession can yield certain benefits. The deterrence provided by nuclear weapons is believed to contribute to peace and stability by dissuading aggression and preventing major conflicts between nuclear-armed states. Nuclear-armed states often perceive their arsenals as guarantors of security, providing assurance against external threats and enhancing confidence in their defense capabilities. Possessing atomic bombs affords nations greater autonomy and independence in their strategic decision-making, reducing reliance on external security guarantees and deterring potential coercion. Nuclear programs propel technological innovation and scientific progress, fostering advancements that benefit both military and civilian sectors. In the realm of geopolitics, possession of nuclear weapons has long symbolized power, influence, and deterrence. While major world powers are often associated with nuclear arsenals, there exists a select group of nations known as “atomic countries” or nuclear powers. These states have developed and maintained nuclear weapons, shaping global politics and security dynamics. As of the latest available data, nine states are recognized as nuclear-armed: the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea. These nations possess varying levels of nuclear capabilities, from extensive arsenals to limited stockpiles. Since the culmination of the Manhattan Project during World War II, the United States has remained a leader in nuclear technology. With a vast arsenal comprising thousands of warheads, the U.S. maintains a formidable nuclear triad consisting of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers. As the successor state to the Soviet Union, Russia inherited a significant nuclear arsenal. Today, Russia possesses one of the largest nuclear arsenals globally, accompanied by a diverse array of delivery systems. The country’s nuclear doctrine underscores the role of nuclear weapons in deterring potential adversaries. Over recent decades, China has emerged as a significant player in the nuclear landscape. While its arsenal is smaller compared to that of the U.S. and Russia, China has been steadily modernizing its nuclear forces by integrating advanced technologies and enhancing survivability. Beijing adheres to a policy of minimum deterrence, prioritizing the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. As one of the original nuclear-armed states, France maintains an independent nuclear deterrent. The French nuclear force, consisting of submarine-launched ballistic missiles and air-delivered weapons, is fundamental to the nation’s security strategy. France emphasizes the necessity of nuclear deterrence to protect its sovereignty and vital interests. Similarly, the United Kingdom possesses an autonomous nuclear deterrent. Through its Trident nuclear program, the UK upholds a continuous at-sea deterrent stance, ensuring the readiness of nuclear forces at all times. London regards nuclear weapons as a last resort for safeguarding national security and preserving peace. Since conducting its inaugural nuclear tests in 1974, India has progressively expanded its nuclear capabilities. The Indian nuclear program exhibits several vulnerabilities, and India has yet to demonstrate itself as a mature and responsible nuclear state. Primarily, the program seems geared not towards peaceful objectives but towards asserting regional dominance and exerting pressure on weaker neighboring nations. Indian politicians, including Modi and other top leaders, have been known to issue threats, particularly towards Pakistan, regarding the use of atomic weapons, as evidenced by their recorded statements and speeches. Furthermore, India’s safety and security measures appear inadequate, as evidenced by numerous reported incidents of uranium surfacing in open markets and among individuals within the country. In response to India’s nuclear advancements, Pakistan developed its own nuclear weapons program. Despite facing economic challenges, Pakistan has pursued a policy of maintaining a credible deterrent in relation to its larger neighbor. Islamabad’s nuclear doctrine prioritizes deterring potential aggression and ensuring national security. Israel neither confirms nor denies its possession of nuclear weapons, but it is widely believed to maintain a covert nuclear arsenal. North Korea’s quest for nuclear weapons has raised considerable alarm within the international community. Despite diplomatic endeavors and economic sanctions, Pyongyang has persisted in its nuclear program, conducting numerous nuclear tests and making strides in missile technology. North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities presents intricate obstacles to both regional stability and global efforts to curb proliferation. Positioned within a geopolitically complex area, Pakistan confronts a multitude of security hurdles, spanning from internal unrest to external pressures. Within this intricate security milieu, the significance of a robust military presence and a reliable nuclear deterrent becomes paramount. Pakistan’s geographical placement, bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, and Iran to the southwest, accentuates the necessity of safeguarding its territorial integrity. Historical conflicts and ongoing tensions with neighboring India, marked by three major wars and numerous border skirmishes, underscore the imperative for a strong military posture to dissuade potential aggression and uphold national sovereignty. A proficient army acts as a shield against external threats, guaranteeing the defense of Pakistan’s borders and territorial integrity. Internally, security challenges such as terrorism, extremism, and insurgencies jeopardize Pakistan’s stability and societal cohesion. The Pakistan Army assumes a central role in counterinsurgency efforts, combating militant factions, and maintaining law and order in volatile regions like the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan. In South Asia, characterized by persistent rivalries and strategic competition, Pakistan’s military capabilities and nuclear deterrence are of critical importance. As India continues to enhance its military prowess and expand its conventional and nuclear arsenals, Pakistan must ensure strategic equilibrium to prevent any regional power imbalances. A credible nuclear deterrent serves as a crucial equalizer, deterring potential aggression and preserving stability through the principle of mutual assured destruction (MAD). The possession of nuclear armaments lies at the core of Pakistan’s national security doctrine, founded on the principle of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence. In a volatile security landscape, a robust nuclear deterrent provides Pakistan with the means to deter threats and defend its core interests. Maintaining a formidable military and possessing nuclear capabilities confer strategic autonomy upon Pakistan, enabling it to pursue an independent foreign policy and safeguard its national interests without relying extensively on external assistance. This self-reliance fosters resilience and adaptability in addressing evolving security challenges and geopolitical dynamics. Pakistan’s nuclear program was a direct response to India’s nuclear aspirations, which came to a head with its nuclear test in 1974. This event drastically shifted the security landscape in South Asia, prompting Pakistan to confront its strategic vulnerability and the imperative of deterrence against its larger and conventionally superior neighbor. Faced with the reality of a nuclear-armed adversary, Pakistan embarked on a journey to develop its own atomic arsenal to address its security concerns and maintain stability in the region. India’s acquisition of nuclear weapons underscored the critical role of deterrence in Pakistan’s national security strategy. Pakistan perceived nuclear armaments as crucial for deterring potential aggression and safeguarding its sovereignty against external threats. Guided by the principle of credible minimum deterrence, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine emphasized the need for a robust arsenal to dissuade adversaries from considering military action. By acquiring nuclear capabilities, Pakistan aimed to achieve strategic parity with India, thereby ensuring mutual vulnerability and preventing any unilateral use of nuclear weapons. The nuclearization of South Asia raised fears of nuclear escalation and instability, prompting Pakistan’s pursuit of atomic weapons as a means to prevent India from monopolizing nuclear capabilities and to uphold the principle of strategic equilibrium. Through possessing a credible nuclear deterrent, Pakistan sought to promote stability, deterrence, and conflict resolution in the region. Despite the inherent risks associated with nuclear armaments, Pakistan reiterated its commitment to responsible nuclear stewardship, advocating for arms control measures and dialogue to mitigate tensions and enhance regional security. At its core, Pakistan’s decision to acquire nuclear weapons was driven by its national security imperatives and the necessity to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The specter of conflict with India, rooted in historical animosities and unresolved disputes, reinforced Pakistan’s resolve to possess a credible deterrent to deter any aggression or coercion. By obtaining nuclear weapons, Pakistan aimed to secure its strategic interests and ensure its survival in a volatile and unpredictable security environment. Yaum-e-Taqbeer, observed annually on May 28th, holds significant historical importance for Pakistan. This day commemorates the successful culmination of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program with the detonation of its first atomic bomb in 1998. Translating to “Day of Greatness,” Yaum-e-Taqbeer serves as a testament to Pakistan’s scientific prowess, technological advancements, and steadfast commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and national security. Yaum-e-Taqbeer commemorates Pakistan’s notable accomplishments in the domain of nuclear technology and security. The centerpiece of this occasion is the successful nuclear tests conducted on May 28, 1998, in the Chagai Hills of Balochistan province. Through a series of underground nuclear tests, Pakistan demonstrated its capability to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. These tests not only marked Pakistan’s entry into the league of nuclear-armed nations but also reaffirmed its dedication to maintaining a credible deterrent against external threats. Yaum-e-Taqbeer holds immense significance for Pakistanis, symbolizing national pride, resilience, and self-sufficiency. On this day, the nation honors the scientists, engineers, and personnel involved in Pakistan’s nuclear program, acknowledging their devotion, sacrifices, and contributions to national security. Throughout the nation, commemorative events, ceremonies, and seminars are orchestrated to reflect upon Pakistan’s nuclear odyssey, spotlight its technological advancements, and reaffirm its dedication to responsible nuclear management. The significance of Yaum-e-Taqbeer transcends Pakistan’s borders, resonating with wider discussions on nuclear proliferation, arms regulation, and the dynamics of regional security. Pakistan’s nuclear strategy, defined by a policy of credible minimum deterrence, seeks to safeguard the nation’s security while fostering stability in South Asia. Nonetheless, the nuclearization of the region has ignited apprehensions regarding the potential for nuclear escalation, emphasizing the necessity for dialogue, confidence-building measures, and endeavors for conflict resolution. Pakistan’s progression in the field of nuclear technology is characterized by notable accomplishments and contributions, predominantly propelled by the professionalism and proficiency of its nuclear scientists and engineers. From fostering indigenous nuclear capabilities to establishing a robust nuclear infrastructure, Pakistani professionals have played a central role in advancing the nation’s strategic goals while adhering to the highest standards of professionalism and safety. Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons has drawn intense scrutiny and conjecture globally. Nonetheless, Pakistan asserts that its nuclear arsenal is strictly for self-defense and deterring external aggression. Additionally, the country maintains that its nuclear weapons are securely managed, subject to stringent controls and safeguards. Contrary to wrong apprehensions regarding the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the country has implemented rigorous safeguards, protocols, and command-and-control mechanisms to ensure the secure custody and responsible oversight of its nuclear weapons. Pakistani nuclear facilities adhere to stringent security measures, encompassing physical protection, personnel reliability programs, and comprehensive export controls to thwart unauthorized access, proliferation, or sabotage. Furthermore, Pakistan adheres to international non-proliferation norms and standards, participating in initiatives like the Nuclear Security Summit and following guidelines set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The professionalism and expertise of Pakistani nuclear scientists, engineers, and personnel are pivotal in guaranteeing the safe and secure operation of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. Trained to the highest standards and adhering to strict protocols, these professionals uphold principles of safety, security, and non-proliferation in their work. Moreover, Pakistan fosters a culture of responsible nuclear stewardship, instilling a sense of duty, discipline, and accountability among those entrusted with the custody and management of nuclear assets. Pakistan’s commitment to nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation has been acknowledged and commended by the international community. Pakistan has demonstrated responsible conduct and cooperation in nuclear affairs. Furthermore, Pakistan has engaged in dialogue and confidence-building measures with neighboring countries, including India, to enhance transparency, alleviate tensions, and foster regional stability. Through its actions and engagements, Pakistan aims to reassure the international community regarding the safety and security of its nuclear arsenal and its dedication to peace and stability. Amidst geopolitical intricacies and global challenges, Pakistan remains a steadfast advocate for peace, stability, and responsible international involvement. Despite confronting diverse security issues and regional dynamics, Pakistan remains committed to nurturing a culture of peace, facilitating dialogue, and advancing cooperation on the global stage. Pakistan’s dedication to harmonious coexistence is embedded within its foreign policy principles, which prioritize dialogue, diplomacy, and conflict resolution. As a founding member of the United Nations (UN) and various other international organizations, Pakistan actively participates in diplomatic endeavors aimed at resolving conflicts, addressing humanitarian crises, and fostering socio-economic development. Furthermore, Pakistan advocates for the peaceful resolution of disputes, including the longstanding Kashmir issue with neighboring India, through dialogue and negotiations, emphasizing the significance of mutual respect, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. With a proud history of contributing to UN peacekeeping missions worldwide, Pakistan exemplifies its commitment to advancing international peace and security. Pakistani peacekeepers have operated in some of the most demanding and turbulent conflict zones, spanning across Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. In these regions, they have played a crucial role in facilitating ceasefires, safeguarding civilians, and fostering reconciliation. Pakistan’s contributions to peacekeeping underscore its unwavering commitment to supporting collective endeavors aimed at conflict resolution, alleviating humanitarian suffering, and establishing lasting peace. As a frontline participant in the global campaign against terrorism, Pakistan has made significant sacrifices and implemented comprehensive measures to combat violent extremism and promote regional stability. Through military operations, law enforcement actions, and counterterrorism strategies, Pakistan has disrupted terrorist networks, dismantled safe havens, and contributed to the worldwide effort to combat terrorism. Additionally, Pakistan collaborates closely with regional and international partners to address transnational threats, bolster border security, and promote cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, recognizing the crucial role of collective action in addressing common challenges. Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting humanitarian assistance and development initiatives, both domestically and internationally, with the aim of alleviating poverty, enhancing healthcare, and improving education. Through humanitarian aid, disaster relief endeavors, and development projects, Pakistan extends support to communities in need, irrespective of nationality or religion. Yaum-e-Taqbeer holds immense significance for Pakistan. It serves as a poignant reminder to celebrate the accomplishment of achieving nuclear statehood. The occasion reaffirms Pakistan’s stance that its nuclear arsenal is solely for defensive purposes and not for showcasing aggression or superiority over any other nation. Pakistan, as a proponent of peace, always seeks to resolve conflicts through dialogue but reserves the right to defend every inch of its territory in the face of aggression. On this auspicious day, the nation pays homage to all scientists, engineers, and individuals who contributed to making Pakistan impregnable.

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